Atsuko Kudo kindly replied to my previous blog post about Latex and THAT Kim Kardashian outfir in detail, and so it is not something that is lost and so I can fully respond I wanted to both reply to her and also publish it here as a separate entry. My comments are in bold.
Hi, (sorry don’t know your name)
Thank you for this very interesting article. I think it’s one of the most interesting pieces on this story on the web in a week where much of the coverage of Kim Kardashian’s look at the GQ Awards has been hysterical and completely disproportionate to what actually took place. Thank you too for your kind comments about Atsuko Kudo within this piece.
Thank you, that is very kind of you to say and also thank you for taking the time to reply to me and this blog. I noticed many of the articles focused on Kim, which is right as the pieces created were to make her shine as was achieved but also, unlike with designers who work in standard fabrics, not much more than the brand name was mentioned on the whole and as a big fan of latex I wanted to draw on that as well as my own experiences with this material.
However, I wanted to respond to your story as for me this is a very important issue (the perception of women’s body shapes in latex). In fact it is what we deal with every day of our lives at Atsuko Kudo. This is because we have customers of every possible shape and size coming to our shop and studios for fittings in latex. As well as requesting and fitting over the internet. And it is my mission to make every woman feel great when they are wearing the clothes and I hope they will feel empowered when they wear them.
Whilst I totally agree with your points that a woman’s shape should not be relevant to the perception of her – the reality is very different. This is what we are also fighting every day.
I agree; all around us, as women, we are objectified and judged constantly. Even the everyday woman who is not famous and is simply getting going about her life is still scrutinised, commented upon and all round in receipt of comments and value judgements she does not desire and did not ask for.
Kim’s stance here is clearly that of a woman of shape, she is celebrating it. It is being presented as gorgeous, glamorous fact. That is inspiring and we want to celebrate that inspiration. It is unfortunate that we live in a world which is totally shape obsessed but Kim’s moment in latex on the red carpet is extraordinarily positive precisely because of her shape.
We do appreciate that for a significant number of women Kim’s shape is neither extraordinary nor even larger than average. She is perfectly normal. Curves on women are normal. This is what we wanted to highlight when we said that she is debunking myths about curvy women in latex. Not us.
Curves on many, although not all, women is indeed normal but Kim at the end of the day is a beautifully curvy slim woman. At her size she doesn’t represent the average woman at all. And nor should she be expected to but the KK’s and Beyoncé’s are touted as these ‘bigger’ girls to allow us to celebrate the fact bigger can be beautiful. Yet in reality Beyoncé, and Kim as already mentioned, are also slim women but who happen to be slightly bigger bummed and bigger boobed. That is why, and I apologise that I read it as Atsuko Kudo the brand “debunking the myth” rather than Kim Kardashian herself doing so, no myth is debunked. Slim, pretty women who either have curves or don’t will look universally beautiful in latex in different ways and for different reasons.
I also want to correct something you have mentioned about our sizing and how we view sizes through our range and charts. Where you have written that we consider someone above a size UK 6 as large – that is not at all correct. It is simply not true. We have specifically kept our size charts as they have been historically sized in the clothing industry for decades, so that for us a UK size 10 is classed as small.
A size 6 we class as XXS (double extra small). We have done this on purpose – many brands these days have shifted their size ranges so that someone who is a small can be labelled as a size 6. We think this is disingenuous – because it is creating the sense that a size 6 is ‘normal’ when in fact it is very, very rare. It’s so rare it is actually not even on our standard size chart.
Please view our standard size chart here. Where you see size S this is a UK 10, 12 is M, 14 is L etc. http://www.atsukokudo.com/Sizing/#standard-sizes
I think the clothing charts from the past isn’t very in-keeping with women today because it has been documented that bodies are changing from what they were 50 years ago. And perhaps, it never was representative even then. Without adding a value judgement to any size, and this isn’t something only AK do it is across fashion both latex and commercial, viewing a 14 as a Large I think is a mistake.
We have many women who come to us and say they are a size 6 or 8 in other brands’clothes and they are often a little surprised when we tell them that they are a 10 or 12 in our sizes because we have kept the size charts the same and not shifted them.
I was having a discussion with a pregnant friend about the sizes people say they are quite recently which is rather apt here in that she observed other pregnant women saying they were a size 8 but during pregnancy, in maternity clothes, were more comfortable in a size 10 or 12. I can wear anything from a 12-28 depending on style, fit and fabric but I am not a 12 or a 28! Fitting into doesn’t make something the right size.
In any case size numbers such as 10, 12 and 14 etc. are just simply a guide for us to be able to supply correctly fitting clothes – the obsession with numbers and letters is not healthy because most people are not a standard size anyway and have bodies which vary within sizes and are all sorts of different heights, shapes and sizes. That is completely normal. It’s very important for me to point this out because your blog suggests that we are not doing this when in fact it has been a conscious and purposeful decision to retain historical sizings as described. This is so that we retain a very realistic perception on sizes.
This is one of my favourite things about latex that it is made to measure (at a premium for some companies and as standard for others) so people get an excellent fit, which in something that hugs your skin is a must. I do find it disappointing, and this isn’t with AK alone please don’t misunderstand as all well known latex houses do the same, that despite women of all sizes shopping with you if I go to the website all I see are very small women. Catwalks do this every day, I know but with latex’s fetish beginnings and fetish being all about acceptance, I would love to see more of the clothes shot worn by larger women. I wouldn’t expect to see anyone shot in it of my size (20-22) because you still do not see many fat women pictured anywhere but it would be wonderful to watch AK embrace women 14/16 (and above) in their shoots.
On a wider note what is truly amazing is the terrible, hideous negativity about Kim’s body shape which you will find all over the internet on this story and in particular those written on her own social media feeds. It really is almost psychopathic the way that many have responded to a woman with a female shape wearing latex on the red carpet. Sadly, the abuse is coming from both men and women.
Disgusting but not surprising. Western society has moved very far away from the feminist strides it made and instead of staggering forwards we are propelling backwards where we are even worse now at not only judging size (too fat? BAD. Too thin? BAD. Anything at all? BAD. Unless you are the current media darling, until such time as they turn on you along with the whole world.) but also any time where a woman embraces her own sexuality, she is shot down, insulted, belittled and threatened with violence.
You are absolutely right to say that latex is for everyone and can look good on every one. This has been my mission for the past 14 years and I work on it every day. Latex can empower women and I am very proud to say that Kim wearing my clothes will empower more women who may not have thought they could wear latex previously and have been given confidence by her appearance. This is the feedback I am getting.
I’m certainly no Kim Kardashian, but I have found in my latex wearing time, which has only become a regularity for me the past 3 years, that larger women often approach me when I am at Torture Garden, and other fetish clubs, because they are not used to seeing fat women in latex. And certainly not a fat woman who dresses up in pastels and brights latex. They are always very positive about what I am wearing but message is often: I don’t feel I can wear that. Something which I, as much as one lone girl in a nightclub who has had a couple of drinks can, try to positively challenge because once you get into latex it opens a whole new world. An exciting one full of colour, design and shape that expands, pardon the pun, your limits.
We specifically wanted to mention that Kim has curves and that this is something to be celebrated because so many ‘haters’ out there seem to want to combine abject misogyny with stereotypes about fuller figures and even to add in ‘criticism’ about suitability for motherhood etc. In other words – tirades of abuse about what it is to be a woman of any kind. Ignoring this kind of insulting body dysmorphia will not make it go away.
We did not suggest that we were de-bunking anything at all – we suggested that Kim was doing the de-bunking by simply being the woman she wants to be and the shape that she so clearly is. This is good news for anyone who wishes for a world of diversity, happiness and optimism.
Thank you again for raising so many valuable points and I hope to be able to meet you one day and hopefully create some more latex pieces for you.
Yours Sincerely, Atsuko Kudo
Thank you again Ms Kudo for explaining who the debunker was and raising many good and salient points yourself. I think there are some points we don’t agree with but many which we do. I would love to meet you one day in person and certainly will continue to expand my wardrobe with AK latex wherever possible.